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Friday, August 16, 2013

 

Obama, Benghazi and the Pleasures of Self-Deception

When theory and reality conflict, the ideologue sides with the theory.  It explains how people who go to a mountaintop to await the predicted end of the world descend unshaken in their faith.

William J. Luti's subhead is:  Since the White House promised that war is winding down, evidence to the contrary is ignored.

It almost cost the British their freedom.
British planners needed a reason to keep their defense budget down. They found one in the "Ten Year Rule," adopted in August 1919. The British assumed, on an annual basis, that no major war would break out in the subsequent 10 years.  They ran that assumption right up to the onset of World War II...
 The Obama administration is committed to fundamentally transforming America and appeasing our enemies because, in the ideology of the people that have shaped Obama, the enemy is the white race like Obama's "typical" aunt and the free market system.  That leaves no room for real, existential enemies external that can cause the country major harm.  It's why any problems can be handled by the occasional drone strike or the police and courts. 

Today, it is the United States that is war weary. A decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has taken its toll, and Americans are looking inward. Bin Laden is dead, and President Obama assures us that the core of al Qaeda is on a path to defeat, that it is now a "diffuse" threat, dispersed from Syria to Somalia to Yemen to the Maghreb and wreaking havoc largely in those lands.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the victory party. The enemy fought back. Islamic radicals took quick advantage of a strategic shift in the battle and flooded into the power vacuum created by the Arab Spring. With force and guile, they push toward their objective: Get the U.S. out of the region and take over a state. What better way to further that goal than to attack the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America.

So why, after two years of chaos caused by the Arab Spring, was the Obama administration unable to separate the Benghazi signal from the noise? We now know that there was a flood of advance warning about the danger to U.S. interests across the region before the attack on the U.S. consulate. Those CIA "cable(s) to stations on 9/11 security," referenced obliquely in White House emails, may hold evidence to the severity of the threat.

In times past, military and diplomatic councils would convene. Reasoned threat assessments would be made and forces repositioned accordingly. Perhaps an American aircraft carrier or an amphibious ready group would have been dispatched to patrol the waters of the eastern Mediterranean gathering intelligence, providing situational awareness and, most importantly, better positioned to respond to a potential crisis.

But in these times, taking such action runs counter to the administration's template. After all, we are now in the business of winding down wars.

For those in the Obama administration who want to believe the world is no longer a dangerous place, holding close to "cherished beliefs and comforting assumptions" about the nature of radical Islam can indeed provide respite from the war on terror.

But in the brutal world of the Islamic radical, not everyone can be trusted to act with reason. The scramble to close 19 embassies from West Africa to South Asia and airlift dozens of Americans out of Yemen last week raises the awkward question of who has who on the run? It also exposes the essence of the administration's strategic confusion about the nature of the conflict.

In this case, the proposition "the war is over" is what Roberta called a "self-annihilating prophecy." Such prophecies, she wrote, can be suicidal in two ways: They endanger both the prophecy and the prophet.

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